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Hit songs don’t equal relevance — Cwesi Oteng

BY: Gifty Owusu-Amoah

For many artistes, the joy of their songs becoming hits, being played all over and topping charts is something they want because it helps to cement their status but Gospel artiste, Cwesi Oteng, doesn’t share in that view.

Cwesi Oteng was thrust into the spotlight by his song, God Dey Bless Me off his debut album, Mercy Project in 2012. He went on to release other hits like I Win but over the last couple of years, the man who helped to make contemporary Gospel music very popular, has been missing in action.

Even though he released Next In Line and a couple of songs last year, they didn’t make much impact but interestingly, Cwesi Oteng said he is not perturbed as in his opinion hit songs don’t define an artiste’s relevance and success.

“The purpose of any artiste is not to make hits for people to sing and dance to and then the next moment, they just forget about it.

“Obviously, that should not be the way of any worthy artiste. Till now, there are timeless songs that people appreciate which may not necessarily be hits at the time,” he told Showbiz on Tuesday.

“This is what I’m working at and that is why I have been low key for a while so it’s not that I’ve lost out of the game. I want my songs to be appreciated even when I’m not alive.


“The likes of Michael Jackson and Obrafour are still enjoying prominence. That is why I choose relevance and purpose over popularity,” he added.

While many Gospel artistes are finding innovative ways to publicise their works, Cwesi Oteng said he now prefers to use the church as a platform for the promotion of his works.

“The situation is such that most Gospel artistes don’t have the competitive advantage of playing at big shows as secular artistes. As such, the church has become the prominent means to get your works out there. When the churches minister your songs, it helps you to get shows and that helps to grow your brand.

“That is the strategy adopted for Next In Line and so while people may not hear it much on radio and other commercial mediums, it is actually making waves in churches,” he said.

The Kabiyesi singer said his departure from BBNZ Live in 2016 prompted him to take a break and also put in measures to enhance his brand and that breather has been a turning point for him.

His exit also raised a lot of questions about the poor working relationship between artistes and record labels and speaking on the subject, Cwesi Oteng said there was no bad blood between him and BBNZ as their separation was mutual.

He expressed his appreciation to BBNZ but was quick to add that he had built a solid brand before joining the label and it was unfair for people to think he left when he had made his name.

“It is surprising how people are reading meanings into this. We had a three-year contract and both parties agreed to end the working relationship when the contract elapsed.

“I don’t think contracts are do or die affairs that only death can separate parties involved. Going to BBNZ was a choice I made and I have no regrets about the decision,” he said.

Born Hermon Cyrus Kwesi Nhyira Oteng, the Mercy artiste disclosed that he will be hosting his Anthem 2 concert in September in preparation for the release of a new album by end of the year.